by Mary Wright, RN, health educator at North End Waterfront Health
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional cause of death in the US. It is the number one cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 4 years of age.
To stay safe while swimming, remember these rules. They apply to all age groups.
- Learn to swim.
- Be sure that you swim in designated swimming areas that are supervised by lifeguards. If you are swimming in a pool, never enter the pool area if the gates are closed. If it is your own pool, be sure that the gates are locked.
- Never leave children unattended while swimming. Children should be constantly supervised. Avoid distractions when supervising children.
- Children should always wear Coast Guard approved flotation devices.
- No running around a pool.
- Never swim alone. Use the buddy system.
- No pushing or jumping on others around water.
- Never pretend to be drowning.
- If a person is missing, check the pool first while another person calls 911. Every second counts when a person is missing in the water.
- Be sure that emergency equipment is available. It should include reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, and a first aid kit.
- Get out of the water during storms.